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Sep 19, 2014

ANGELO BOUNCES BACK AS HODGE TOPS PRACTICE

A 207km/hr crash at the fastest corner on the circuit less than a month ago hasn’t been enough to stop Chelsea Angelo from impressing in practice for round 6 of the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship at Phillip Island.

The OzStaff Racing Dallara F307 driver finished 0.03s behind championship leader Simon Hodge in practice today in what is her first time back in the car following a massive crash at the track several weeks ago during a private testing session.

Angelo’s Dallara – nicknamed ‘Chase’ – was badly damaged in a 200km/hr crash at Lukey Heights during a pre-event test session, necessitating a big rebuild at the teams’ suburban Melbourne base in recent weeks.

The final parts arrived just-in-time from Germany on Wednesday this week enabling the rising Victorian star to get back on track – both physically and mentally – this weekend, enabling her to race in front of her home fans, supporters and sponsors.

“Having that kind of accident really dented the confidence so it’s nice to come back and go as quick as we did today – it was unexpected,” she said.

“Today’s results are very satisfying after having my confidence knocked around by the crash and it gives me a big boost for the remainder of the weekend.

“We don’t have a lot of expectation about this weekend and the plan is to try and have as strong a run as possible, get back in the rhythm and see what results we get from that.”

Angelo added that getting back on track at the 4.45km Phillip Island circuit was a further boost to her motivation this weekend, having tasted success in Formula Ford at the circuit in previous years.

“I love this place,” she added. “It’s one of my favourite places to race, especially in the F3 car. I’ve got great memories here and set the lap record in the Formula Ford which was great. It’s good to come back and race here.”

Hodge set the fastest time in the dry second practice session after electing to sit out the first session, run in changeable semi-dry to wet conditions earlier in the morning.

Hodge’s Team BRM outfit has completed private testing at the circuit recently giving the team the confidence to sit out the damp running this morning to keep their proverbial powder dry.

Hodge’s 1m25.24s lap was comfortably faster than the quickest practice time set at the circuit twelve months ago by Tim Macrow as the F3ADC field chases the fabled Phillip Island outright lap record this weekend.

His teammate Chris Anthony had a strong day in his first outing driving a current-specification Mygale M11-Mercedes Benz and finished the day third overall, just 0.3s behind his teammates benchmark time.

In the dry, Ben Gersekowski (4th), Garnet Patterson (5th), Ricky Capo (6th) and Roland Legge (7th) were closely matched but a full second behind Angelo and the pair of Team BRM Mygales in dry running today.

Anthony had earlier topped the condition run in changeable conditions with Angelo second and Patterson third.

Action from this weekend’s sixth round of the Gold Star will be shown live on the internet this Sunday along with all of the action from Round 7 of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals.